4 December 2013
A consumer advocate has welcomed Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) plans to educate consumers about new credit laws, but says full and immediate help from other key players within both the finance industry and government is essential to reach the millions of Australians whose credit ratings are currently at risk.
Credit repair pioneer Graham Doessel, who is now Non-Legal Director of MyCRA Lawyers – a firm focusing on credit reporting law – says the powers that be have failed to ensure consumers were educated about new credit laws which are impacting them now.
“From December 2012, information about consumer repayment history to licenced creditors – which includes credit card and loan repayments have been recorded – and the details of any repayments made past the due date will show on credit files as of March 2014,” Mr Doessel says.
He goes on to say, “There has not been enough education to date about this important change, and possibly millions of Australians who have not been diligent with making payments by the due date could be affected.”
The extent of consumer ignorance on new credit laws has been acknowledged by the Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA), who announced last week they were developing a website aimed at helping consumers better understand credit reporting.
ARCA’s own research revealed 59 per cent of people had not heard of the term “credit reporting.” Credit reporting agency Veda Advantage also recently published results of a survey showing that 80 per cent of people have never checked their credit history and 53 per cent were not aware that they could ask for a copy of their credit file. (1)
ARCA’s chief executive, Damian Paull told Banking Day that ARCA’s new website, which he hopes to launch in the New Year, will explain the changes to the credit reporting system; explain how people can get access to their credit files; go through the issues that contribute to a good or bad credit report; and detail the financial hardship obligations of credit providers. (2)
Mr Paull said ARCA members would be encouraged to provide links on their websites to the new site.
Mr Doessel says ARCA’S approach – whilst positive, needs more than ‘encouragement’ – but massive national assistance to appropriately address the magnitude of the problems potentially facing Australian consumers.
“With over 16.5 million consumer credit files held by Veda Advantage alone, we’re talking millions of Australians who need to be reached to prevent lax repayment habits impacting their future.”
“The fact of the matter is – many Australians outside finance circles don’t know ARCA, let alone what comprehensive credit reporting is,” he says.
He recommends both the financial sectors and the appropriate government bodies take up the education campaign.
“I would like to see plans to incorporate a brief warning statement, plus direction for where consumers can go for further information on many standard Government letters such as Centrelink, Department of Transport and Australian Tax Office correspondence, in addition to warnings on all licenced credit statements,” Mr Doessel says.
About MyCRA Lawyers: MyCRA Lawyers is an Incorporated Legal Practice focused on credit file consultancy and credit disputes. MyCRA Lawyers means business when it comes to helping those disadvantaged by credit rating mistakes.
Graham Doessel – Non-Legal Director MyCRA Lawyers Ph 3124 7133
Lisa Brewster – Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org
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